As we transitioned back into normalcy this past fall, members of the UIUC Chapter of U.S. Women in Nuclear were especially excited to celebrate Nuclear Science Week. By participating in a different outreach, professional development, or social event each day, we were able to foster community within our own chapter while sharing information about nuclear science with others around on campus.
To kick off Nuclear Science Week, we spent Monday night decorating cookies to hand out on the main quad as part of our Nuclear Science Week outreach event the next day. Cookie decorating certainly brought out a competitive side for many of our members, and if atom-inspired cookies were commonly sold in bakeries, our chapter could certainly be competitive hires. After the cookies were completed and packaged for sale, we had the opportunity to hear from some wise graduate students within the department. These students educated our members on how to best approach different questions that they may receive when participating in outreach events involving nuclear science. This gave members the opportunity to ask their own questions and gain more general and historical knowledge about nuclear energy that is not always covered in the classroom.
On Tuesday, we brought our trivia wheel, nuclear posters, cookies, and enthusiastic members out to the quad to spread the word about Nuclear Science Week. It was a beautiful day, and we had the opportunity to answer questions, facilitate nuclear trivia, and hand out our nuclear-themed cookies. This was an excellent opportunity for our first-year members to get more comfortable speaking to others about nuclear science, and I feel that the conversations sparked during this outreach event were beneficial for all involved.
Although it was refreshing to have these two in-person events early in the week, Zoom still allows us to connect with others who may not be in the Urbana-Champaign area. This opens the door to more professional development opportunities for our chapter, and was part of a successful Nuclear Science Week meeting on Wednesday. We were able to chat with Price Collins and Tori Riso, two individuals who currently work for Constellation and are also involved with U.S. WIN at the national level. Our chapter has been lucky enough to collaborate with both of these representatives in the past, and it was great to catch up with them and hear about everything; ranging from their daily responsibilities at Constellation to their upcoming Halloween costume ideas.
Nuclear Science Week was an incredible opportunity for the U.S. Women in Nuclear Chapter at UIUC to participate in outreach, professional development, and internal events. We look forward to continuing the tradition of celebrating this special week next fall, and have already begun brainstorming new events that we feel will allow us to continue working to contribute to U.S. Women In Nuclear’s mission.